Melbourne will enter lockdown on Thursday after a Covid cluster grew to 25 cases overnight following an infected reveller’s late-night bender.
The infectious drinker partied at three different bars in Prahran, in the city’s southeast, on Saturday night – and ended up kicking on until 4am on Sunday in one of the venues known for packed crowds and a pumping dancefloor.
Health officials and senior government ministers held crisis meetings overnight to finalise the details of the lockdown.
The cluster grew to 15 cases on Wednesday, before reportedly ballooning to a total of 25 overnight, the ABC reported.
Contact tracers are continuing to hunt a ‘missing link’ in the infection chain, with the virus genomically linked to a man who caught it in Adelaide hotel quarantine.
An announcement by Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino is expected to come at around 9am on Thursday, with Daniel Andrews still off work with a serious back injury.
A Covid-infected case last Saturday headed out for a mammoth late-night bender in Prahran, in Melbourne’s southeast, which ended up kicking on until 4am on Sunday – visiting three bars
Experts warned that if a single case appears that isn’t a household contact, as in someone infected at one of the bars or others venues, Victoria will ‘push the lockdown button’
One of the Chapel Street pubs the infected reveller visited was the trendy cocktail lounge Three Monkeys (pictured)
Contact tracers are continuing to hunt a ‘missing link’ in the infection chain, with the virus genomically linked to a man who caught it in Adelaide hotel quarantine
The pub-crawler, unknowingly infected with a highly contagious double mutant Indian strain of the virus, began the evening at a cocktail bar on Chapel Street called Three Monkeys.
They arrived at about 9.15pm and then wandered down the street to the famed Somewhere Bar – an establishment frequented by a sea of young, hip partygoers.
That Saturday the venue was packed as DJs blasted out tunes late into the night.
Three Monkeys also had a good turnout, raising fears the infected drinker may have sparked a super-spreader event.
‘It wasn’t crazy but it was solid,’ owner Antony Harvey told The Age of the crowd that night.
The infected case stayed at Somewhere Bar for a slue of drinks before heading back to Three Monkeys at about 1am.
The positive case then headed off towards Circus Bar – known for its raucous dance floor – on Commercial Road and kept the party going until 4am.
University of Melbourne epidemiologist Tony Blakely warned that it was almost inevitable that a lockdown would be called.
‘If even one case occurs among somebody who is not a known contact already, I think they will hit the lockdown button,’ he said.
The infected case stayed at Somewhere Bar for a slue of drinks before until about 1am (pictured)
The infected pub-crawler kept the party going until about 4am at the Circus Bar (pictured)
Patient zero for the latest Australian outbreak, who came to be known as the Wollert man, returned to South Australia from India on April 19, where he underwent 14 days in hotel quarantine at the Playford Hotel in Adelaide.
The man in his 30s tested negative to the virus three times during his stay and was discharged on May 4 before he travelled to his home in Wollert, in Melbourne’s north.
But a few days later he developed symptoms and genomic testing would later reveal he contracted the virus from another hotel quarantine guest who was staying in an adjacent room.
SA Health handed down the findings of a report on Wednesday that suggested the virus likely spread when doors of adjacent rooms were momentarily opened at the same time.
His infection has since been gnomically linked to the new shock cluster gripping Melbourne.
Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino (pictured) says the next 24 hours will be critical to avoid another lockdown after the state recorded six more locally acquired Covid-19 cases
Healthcare workers are seen at work at a Covid-19 testing facility in Melbourne on Wednesday
But a definitive link between the Wollert man and the outbreak hasn’t been established as contact tracers scramble to find a potential ‘missing link’.
‘The only missing link is the link to the Wollert case from the South Australian hotel quarantine,’ Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said.
While authorities have ‘run down multiple generations of transmission’, Professor Sutton is concerned about the amount of time that positive cases have been out in the community.
‘There are potential exposures there that relate to some days ago that are yet to play out in new cases,’ he said.
The Victorian government already introduced a number of restrictions to try and stop the spread including mask mandates indoors and limits on gatherings.
Other states around Australia have also taken steps to stop the virus from spreading, re-introducing tough border restrictions that require incoming travellers to self-isolate and Melburnians banned from South Australia all together.
It’s understood officials are considering a five day circuit breaker, which could be extended if significant numbers of cases not directly linked to the current cluster emerge, The Herald Sun reported.
Contact tracers are continuing to hunt a ‘missing link’ in the infection chain, as policymakers and public health authorities held crisis talks on Wednesday night about whether a shut will be declared. Pictured: Masked pedestrians in Melbourne
Pictured: The Cohuna recreation reserve in Victoria where a sporting event was held between a Victorian and NSW team – and attended by a positive Covid-19 case
The fears Melbourne’s Covid-19 outbreak could already have spread interstate come after health authorities confirmed a virus carrier attended sporting fixtures involving a New South Wales team.
NSW Health said it is urgently contacting people who attended a Central Murray Football and Netball League game between the Victorian club Cohuna and the New South Wales-based team Tooleybuc-Manangatang on Saturday afternoon.
Anyone who attended the footy and netball games, which were held in Victoria but with many fans who travelled from NSW, should immediately get tested and self-isolate.
Victorian health authorities said the positive Covid-19 case attended the Cohuna Recreation Reserve and watching multiple netball games alongside other spectators.
The infected person also visited the canteen and used the public toilets at the venue.
Health authorities are urging anyone who was at the event between 12pm and 5pm to get tested urgently and isolate until they receive a negative result.
The South Australian hotel quarantine breach which has sparked a worrying Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne is likely to have begun when the virus went from one open door to another (pictured, Melbourne health workers at a testing centre on Wednesday)
It’s understood Victorian officials are considering a five day circuit breaker, which could be extended if significant numbers of cases not directly linked to the current cluster emerge (pictured, Melbourne commuters)
COVID-19 EXPOSURE VENUES ANNOUNCED ON WEDNESDAY
Tier 1: Get tested immediately and quarantine for 14 days from exposure
Dukes Gym Abbotsford – 24/05/2021 6:15pm – 8:15pm
Axedale Tavern – 23/05/2021 11:45am – 1:30pm
Endless Lifestyle Studio, Balwyn – 23/05/2021 9:45am – 12:40pm
McDonald’s Bayswater North – 21/05/2021 11:00pm – 12:00am
Anytime Fitness, Bundoora – 23/05/2021 3:40pm – 5:30pm and 24/05/2021 4:50pm – 5:50pm
Burwood Teppanyaki House – 22/05/2021 7:30pm – 9:40pm
Bicycle Superstore, Carnegie – 23/05/2021 3:33pm – 4:00pm
The Nicholson Coffee House, Coburg – 22/05/2021 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Coles Epping – 20/05/2021 6:45pm – 7:35pm
Woolworths Epping – 20/05/2021 6:25pm – 7:15pm
Secco and Co, Fitzroy North – 22/05/2021 7:35pm – 8:55pm
Degani, Westfield Plenty Valley – 23/05/2021 11:30am – 2:00pm
The Sporting Globe Mordialloc – 23/05/2021 6:17pm – 9:43pm
Melbourne Swordcraft – 21/05/2021 5:45pm – 10:30pm
Bay 101 Cafe, Port Melbourne – 24/05/2021 7:30am – 8:20am
Port Park Cafe, Port Melbourne – 24/05/2021 12:30pm – 1:00pm
The Local, Port Melbourne – 21/05/2021 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Stratton Finance HQ – 20/05/2021 – 25/05/2021 12:00am – 11:59pm
Somewhere Bar – 22/05/2021 10:30pm – 1:00am
Three Monkeys – 22/05/2021 9:10pm – 11:00pm and 23/05/2021 12.30am – 2:00am
Nordie Cafe, Red Hill – 22/05/2021 9:09am – 9:34am
Doctors on Broadway – 18/05/2021 2:00pm – 3:45pm
The Palace Hotel – 21/05/2021 5:45pm – 6:45pm
Circus Bar – 23/05/2021 1:30am – 4:15am
Criniti’s Southbank – 23/05/2021 6:00pm – 9:30pm
Little Tienda – 22/05/2021 7:45am – 8:20am
Insportz Knox – 20/05/2021 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Tier 2: Get tested urgently and isolate until you receive a negative result
Hairfolk, Bendigo – 22/05/2021 9:40am – 10:10am
Barkly Square: Priceline, Kmart, Woolworths, OPSM – 22/05/2021 1:15pm – 2:30pm
RMIT Campus, Building 56, Carlton – 21/05/2021 8:00am – 10:30am
BP Southvale – 22/05/2021 8:10am – 8:30am
Ritchies IGA Pentridge, Coburg – 24/05/2021 6:45pm – 7:25pm
IGA Coburg – 22/05/2021 2:30pm – 2:50pm
Cohuna Football and Netball Club, Cohuna Recreation Reserve – 22/05/2021 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Marvel Stadium – (Level 1 Aisles 5-28 and Level 3 Aisles 6-29) – 23/05/2021 4:30pm – 7:30pm
7-Eleven Fairfield East – 23/05/2021 7:45pm – 8:00pm
Melbourne Cricket Ground – Zone 4, Level 1 – 23/05/2021 2:50pm – 6:30pm
Tier 3: Monitor for symptoms
Marvel Stadium – all other zones not individually listed – 23/05/2021 4:30pm – 7:30pm
Melbourne Cricket Ground – All of the Stadium, other than Zone 4, Level 1 – 23/05/2021 2:50pm – 6:30pm